Facebook Live with Goose Island!

Big news for us here at Brew Bloods: as part of Goose Island's Migration Week 2017, we're hosting a Facebook Live event and we want you to take part!

We'll be talking with Goose Island brewer Paul Darnby and National Brand Manager Jesse Valenciana. 

If you'd like to submit a question, leave it here in the comments, email us at brewbloodsshow@gmail.com or use our contact form

The live stream will start somewhere around 11:30 AM Central Time, originating from Goose Island's Facebook page, so keep your eyes out.


Flavor, Part Two

In Flavor, Part 1, we talked about the tongue's role in perceiving flavor. Now we discuss the nose's role.

When we talk about flavor, we typically think only of our tongues, but flavor is comprised of two sensory systems: the tongue, where perceive taste, and the nose, where we perceive aroma. Thanks to our bio-diversity, we all sense things a little bit differently, which often leads to a wide range of opinions on your favorite beer.

Your nose has a huge influence on how flavor impacts you, as you'll notice the nose's influence right way when it's clogged thanks to a cold and everything tastes bland: taste and aroma are best friends that give us flavor.

The tongue only perceives basic tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami (or savory). This is where the nose comes in, because everything else we attribute to flavor (aside from texture) is actually aroma perceived by the nose.

Most humans have around 9 million olfactory neurons that exist between the upper part of the nasal cavity and the back of the throat; we're lightweights compared to other animals like dogs who have around 225 million. We use aroma to try to identify not only something good, or beneficial, but also something rancid or unappealing. Aroma data is perceived by some of the oldest parts of our brain: from the hypothalamus where we process appetite, anger, and fear, to the brain stem, which controls basic regulatory body functions.

The nose has two sensor systems: the ortho-nasal and the retro-nasal. The ortho-nasal sensors are high up in the nose and they're used to analyze, categorize, and identify aromas when you breathe in. These sensors come into play when you stick your nose up to that IPA and get a good whiff of that piny goodness. 

The retro-nasal system sits in the soft tissue at the back of your mouth and in the channel that connects your mouth to your nose; it perceives aromas more as flavor when you breath out while food is in your mouth. The retro-nasal sensors are also connected to preference, familiarity, and satiety. When you taste something and it reminds you of Band-Aids, you're seeing your retro-nasal sensors at work.

As you chew your food, many things happen to release new and more aromas into the retro-nasal channel; this is why just smelling something doesn't reveal the entire flavor profile and the two are sometimes almost at odds, such as being repulsed by the ortho-nasal aroma of smelly cheese versus putting it in your mouth.

When you chew, the food warms up, you increase the surface area of the food, and things like bubbles are bursting, which all contribute to the nasal bouquet that is sent to the brain for computation. All of that sensory data is then combined with taste to produce what we all call flavor.

Sources:   by Randy Mosher, Beer Sensory Science, Cooking for Geeks


Flavor, Part One

When we talk about flavor, we typically think only of our tongues. But, flavor is comprised of two sensory systems: the tongue, where we perceive taste, and the nose, where we perceive aroma. And, thanks to our bio-diversity, we all sense things a little bit differently, which often leads to a wide range of opinions on your favorite beer.

The tongue is one of the systems we humans use to push ourselves towards desirable foods and away from dangerous ones like rancid food or poison. The sense of taste is so important that it has three paths to the brain in case there is a failure on one of those paths.

The tongue has about 10,000 taste buds, with a few also sprinkled throughout other parts of your mouth, such as in your cheeks and esophagus. Each taste bud has between 50 and 100 taste receptors that recognize certain molecules in food. And, as we age, the number of receptors decline; this is why many elderly have a lack of appetite and lack of interest in food; this in turn leads to fragility and poor health.

Back in the 19th century we used to think that 5 different areas of the tongue perceived the different basic tastes, but science has since proven that most of the tongue is perceptive to all of the basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.

Sweet - Sweet receptors were used in evolution to point us towards things that had a lot of nutritional value. In the modern era this has proven troublesome for our bellies as a sweet taste is always available and our brains still think we should have this.

Sour - The ability to detect a sour taste allows us to detect acidity as well as ripe or spoiled food.

Salty - Salt plays a crucial role to many cellular processes which require sodium and potassium. And let's face it, salt tastes really good.

Bitter - Despite the fact that we like hops, bitter senses are used to avoid potentially dangerous toxins like cyanide. But, bitterness is a rainbow and there may be more at work in the brain.

Umami - Translates to "pleasant savory taste" in Japanese and its job is to point out savory flavors, which are recognized through receptors looking for glutatmate, which is an amino acid used to synthesize protein.

The tongue can also perceive other sensations that are not lumped in with the basic tastes: spiciness, pungency, coolness, numbness, astringency, metallics, calcium, fat, temperature, and starch.

But, taste is only one half of the flavor equation, as our noses also play a crucial role, as we'll find out next time.

Sources: Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer, Brain Blogger

What is a Brown Ale?

Nothing makes Fall feel better than the caramel, malty flavors of Brown Ales; they're one of the great transition beers to enjoy before diving head first into the porters and stouts of the winter months.

One of the earliest English ales, Brown Ales were first brewed 800 years ago when malts were kilned over hardwood fires, giving the grain a brown color and smokey flavor. The term “Brown Ale” wasn’t introduced until the introduction of Porter in the early 1700s; before that they were simply called “Ales” because there basically was little delineation between beer styles.

For the next 100 years, Brown Ales would be used to describe Porters, Stouts and Milds. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that a distinction began to grow between the styles, when Brown Ales were made by making a Stout or Porter first, and then reusing the mash to produce a brown ale. What we think of as Brown Ales today didn’t come around until the late 1800s when Mann's Brown Ale in England helped relaunch the modern brown. But, it was Newcastle Brown Ale in 1925 that popularized the style. The style finally made It Stateside in 1986 with Pete’s Wicked Ale, a beer which also helped establish the American-Style brown ale.

Like Bock beers there are several recognized types of Brown Ales. English-Style Brown Ales are copper to brown in color. Brown porters are medium to dark brown in color with a low to medium malt sweetness and chocolate notes. Belgian-style Flanders are a deep copper to brown in color; they have a strong lactic sourness and usually an oak or woody character to them. German-Style Brown ales (also known as Dusseldorf-style AltBier) are copper to brown in color, with malt and a hop character. Lastly, there is the American-style Brown ale. Not surprising, it’s also deep copper to brown in color with medium roasted malt caramel and a chocolate-like character, and also no surprise, American-style brown ales are often more hopped than their counterparts.

Brown Ales typically come in around 3.3-5.2% ABV  , which makes them one of the easier session styles around.